Judge denies Costco request to ban protesters

Comments posted by Erik Scott supporters on the Facebook social networking website prompted Costco Wholesale Corp. to go to court in an unsuccessful bid to keep protesters away from one of its Las Vegas stores.

A district judge late Wednesday denied company attorney Sharon Nelson’s blanket request to ban Erik Scott supporters from “protesting or picketing” the Summerlin Costco on Thursday night. Scott, 38, was killed July 10 by Las Vegas police outside the store.

An order signed by Judge Michelle Leavitt denied Nelson’s request without explanation.

An employee at Nelson’s office said the attorney had no comment on the request for a temporary restraining order against as many as 100 unknown defendants. Nelson in court papers said she had no way of knowing who to name. She had read about the possible protest on a Facebook page dedicated to Scott.

Earlier this week, a coroner’s inquest jury after six days of testimony determined the three officers involved in the shooting were justified in their actions.

Scott family spokeswoman Lisa Mayo-DeRiso said the family has turned its attention to Costco employees, particularly Shai Lierley, who called police the day Scott was killed.

So have some of the hundreds of members of the In Memory of Erik Scott Facebook page, people Mayo-DeRiso said the Scott family has no control over. They are pressuring Costco to fire Lierley.

While the Scott family has indicated it intends to file a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department and Costco, Mayo-DeRiso distanced the Scott family from any influence it might have over others.

“We have over 1,500 members on Facebook and over 7,000 on Twitter,” Mayo-DeRiso said. “I even saw something on a Craigslist page I never even heard of until today. The Scott family can’t control how the public feels about Erik.”

Mayo-DeRiso said the family, which has been aggressive in questioning the actions of police and Costco, recently changed the message on its billboards to thank witnesses who testified at the televised inquest.

“Even the witnesses whose testimony they don’t agree with, the family thanked them,” Mayo-DeRiso said. “We respect that they came forward. The Scott family feels bad for those who watched Erik die. Those people will never forget what they saw.”

Mayo-DeRiso is not so forgiving toward the court action of Costco. “Why Costco has taken this adversarial stance doesn’t make sense,” she said.

That Nelson’s court papers were filed ex parte, meaning it would be heard in the absence of any opposing party, was hurtful to the Scott family, Mayo-DeRiso said.

A Tuesday post on the Scott memorial Facebook page asked pickets to show up at the Costco’s Summerlin store and join in “DEMANDING the firing of Shai Lierley … .” Lierley called 911 after noticing Scott had a firearm and was reported to be acting “erratic.”

The planned 6 p.m. gathering drew four protesters to a corner near the Summerlin Costco at Canyon Pointe Shopping Center. Most of the protesters directed their ire at Las Vegas police. Protester Laurie Sorenson also said Costco played a role in a cover-up of Scott’s shooting.

“If you went into Costco right now, their surveillance tapes would be working,” Sorenson said. “I’m not an expert in technology, but I’m not an idiot either.”

During the inquest, testimony was given that Costco’s video security system failed to capture the shooting.

Scott’s father, Bill Scott, told reporters after the inquest that Costco employees were responsible for Scott’s death.

A Puget Sound Business Journal story published in Costco’s home state of Washington on Wednesday reported company leaders said the actions of Lierley and other employees were motivated by concern “for the safety of our members and employees.” The report mentioned the Thursday protest, adding Costco will “vigorously resist any use of our private property by anyone for this purpose, and will apply to the court for relief if any such threatened trespass is attempted.”

Review-Journal writer Antonio Planas contributed to this report. Contact Doug McMurdo at dmcmurdo@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512 or read more courts coverage at lvlegalnews.com.

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